Hamlet really is a narcissistic ass. I'm not talking about his famous, almost play-long dithering about whether or not he should kill the uncle who murdered his father and married his mother — and if so, when and how, and what it says about his character that he's unable to do it, and on and on and on. I'm talking about the fact that he destroys Ophelia (yeah, yeah, he loves her as well — he's just tormented. I get it. But she ends up every bit as destroyed as if he hadn't loved her); kills her father and then makes ugly jokes about the body; reveals to his mother a hysterical revulsion toward sex that would do a Republican politician proud; sends two university chums to their deaths on very ambiguous evidence that they've betrayed him; interrupts Ophelia's burial to rant about how much more he loved her than did her brother, Laertes; and expresses utter bewilderment at Laertes's subsequent anger. This essential nastiness is only somewhat excused by the fact that he's in pain, but it is obscured, in most productions, by Hamlet's wit, energy and brilliance, as well as his extraordinarily expressive and... More >>>